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Journalists need protection
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Congress doesn't do much these days, but here's one bill that could command bipartisan support: a federal shield law protecting journalists against overzealous prosecutors.The urgency behind this measure increased sharply when the Supreme Court declined to take the case of James Risen, a New York Times reporter who is facing jail time for refusing to reveal the confidential sources he used in a book about the CIA.Risen’s last hope for avoiding prison is probably Attorney General Eric Holder, who could quash the subpoena Risen is resisting. "The ball is now in the government's court," said Joel Kurtzberg, the reporter's lawyer.There is some hope Holder will act. He is clearly sensitive to charges the Obama administration has been far too quick to prosecute government leak cases, and he recently told a gathering of journalists, "As long as I'm attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to jail."But the rights of journalists to report -- and citizens to be informed -- should not depend on the goodwill of the attorney general.